A former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon will be appointed to the No. 3 post at the Department of State, a source familiar with the process said.
Earlier in the week, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate David Hale to be the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. “Except for deputy secretary, this is the highest job a career person can have and the No. 3 position at State,” the source said.
Hale is currently Washington’s ambassador to the Pakistan. He was the ambassador to Lebanon from 2013 to 2015. He was the deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs from 2008 to 2009 as well as director for Israel-Palestinian Affairs from 2001 to 2003.
The source added: “This puts David in rare air. Pickering, Eagleburger, Grossman, Wendy Sherman, Nick and Bill Burns,” in reference to former officials who held the post of undersecretary of state for political affairs.
Although Hale is familiar with Lebanon, the move won’t affect the relationship between Beirut and Washington drastically. “Lebanon is increasingly viewed as a victim of its own internal mismanagement and a mix of domestic political ‘own goals,’” the source said. “It’s why the relationship is more centered on Department of Defense and the Lebanese Armed Forces than in past cycles.”
This is second potential appointment that could have positive repercussions for Lebanon and continued U.S. aid to the Lebanese Army. In January, The Daily Star reported that former Pentagon official David Schenker was nominated as assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs. Analysts in Washington said at the time that Schenker would most likely align himself with those in the Pentagon and CENTCOM who have argued for continued support to Lebanese Army.
Both Schenker and Hale need Senate approval.
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